Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New York City is Magic

After going to school in New York for four years, it can be easy to forget how absolutely wonderful the city really is. Sometimes, I'll go weeks without thinking about it, and then, all of the sudden, I'll be taking the 20 minute train ride on the Metro North from the Bronx into Manhattan, and it hits me:

 I live in a city where things are always happening, where Broadway is at my fingertips and some of the best food in the world could be just around the corner (including dollar pizza). I live in a city full of business, books, music and culture, where unbelievable art can be found in museums, galleries, architecture, or even just the ceiling of Grand Central Station. But most importantly, I live in a city full of incredible friends who make it feel like home.

Some city adventures remind me of all of this, and last night was one of those adventures. A few friends and I trekked into Manhattan from the Bronx on the day after the "blown out of proportion" blizzard. We were going to see the Elephant Man on Broadway and I was hoping to meet my future husband Bradley Cooper, with no such luck. The performance, however, was wonderful, and the city was cold but still so very beautiful. Wandering through the streets of New York at night has to be one of the best things in the world, made even better by the hilarious friends walking beside me.  

The stunning Grand Central ceiling. 

This is my adorable closest friend, Phil. 

A near empty Grand Central Station is a magic that everyone needs to experience.... obviously not at the same time. 

I think it should be mandatory for everyone to live in New York City at least once in their lives or, at the very least, visit. There are so many amazing cities in the world and I don't think I'll live here forever, but there's still something about New York that will always have my heart. I truly believe that it does possess a kind of magic, and this undoubtably won't be the last time I mention my love affair with the city on the blog. 
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Monday, January 26, 2015

A Little Mail & A Lot of Chocolate

I find sending any kind of mail to be a huge hassle. Packing it up, addressing it, getting it to the post office, figuring out the correct postage.... It's all very tedious and time consuming. Also, let's be real, if it's a letter, by the time it arrives, the information is so old that I might as well have sent a carrier pigeon. However, this hassle is why I think receiving mail is one of life's great joys. It's not just the message that makes me happy, but the knowledge that someone cares enough to put in the time and effort required to send it to me. So, I wanted to share with you the surprise joy that I received in the mail a few days ago. 

My older sister, Alexandra, recently travelled to England (a place near and dear to both of our hearts) over the holidays. She then brought back and mailed to me possibly the greatest thing ever invented: a giant bar of Cadbury Marvellous Creations Jelly Popping Candy! "What is that?" you might ask. Oh, it's only the most incredible chocolate bar in the world (not an exaggeration)! It's Cadbury chocolate that contains pop rocks and small pieces of what can only be described as gummy bear like candies, but better. I know, you're skeptical, and don't worry, I was too. But, my friend, Joni, introduced me to this chocolate the last time I was in London, and I don't think I fully lived until that day. I'm being super dramatic, but you get the point. 

To my American readers interested, you can order it from Amazon, albeit for a super expensive price. Although, I'm actually not sure how long it will continue to be available given the impending, crazy, and oppressive halt to British chocolate imports. To my British readers, be thankful that all you have to do for a bar is head to the nearest Tesco.

I live in constant fear that Cadbury will discontinue this chocolate. I mean, it's such a weird combination and as Joni once said about the packaging, "it all looks very...temporary."

Alexandra thinks she's witty. I'll admit, I laughed. 

Alexandra was amazing enough to include another kind of Marvellous Creations bar in the package, as well!

While I did spend most of this post proclaiming my love for a chocolate bar, I hope it was also a small reminder of the big joy that comes with real mail. I know that, for me, opening an email will never come close to the happiness that comes from opening a letter. 
For exactly this reason, sending a little more snail mail is definitely on my to-do list this year. I know that the happiness it will bring, far outweighs the small hassle of sending it. 
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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Greatest Hits from my Makeup Bag

Get ready, because here comes a super long and girly post!

I have a small obsession with makeup and a vast collection to prove it. However, like many women, I only use a small portion of that collection regularly. I mean, as fun as it is to buy glitter eye shadow, I'm not reaching for it every morning as I get ready for class. I personally love when bloggers share their favorite makeup and beauty products, because it just feels so authentic. That's why I wanted to share with you 18 of my all time faves, or what I like to call the "greatest hits" from my makeup bag. You'll notice that they look a little worse for wear, but I prefer the term "well loved."

[NAKED2 Eyeshadow Palette by Urban Decay] This is hands down the best eye shadow palette I've ever used. The colors are fantastic for creating everything from a neutral to a smokey eye. My favorite shades are Half Baked (before I ran out), Chopper, Snakebite, Pistol, Verve and basically all of them. Verve is especially nice for the corners of my eyes, as well as lining my bottom lid.

Fun anecdote: This palette actually used to be my sister's, but she dropped it a few times and was going to throw it out before buying a new one. #diva. So, I rescued it from certain death, gave it a little TLC and never looked back. It has been one of the greatest decisions of my life thus far.

[Diorskin Rosy Glow by Dior] This blush is magic. No joke. Dior says "When applied, the initially fresh, light color develops into a rosy blush to suit each individual complexion." I'm sorry, what?! Like I said, magic. Question: Does anyone look bad wearing this blush? Answer: No. 
As a bonus, this Dior Addict Lip Glow does the same thing for your lips. It seriously creates the perfect pink color and I'm obsessed. It would have been pictured above, had I not just finished my second tube. 

[Secret Camouflage in SC-2 by Laura Mercier] I swear by this concealer. It will cover anything and can last for hours, especially if you put a little pressed powder over it. I carry it around with me always and no one will ever find out what I really look like.
[Brow Zings in Medium by Benefit] This brow shaping kit changed. my. life. Use it with an eyebrow brush, and it will make your eyebrows look so incredible. I can't believe there was a time when I didn't use this. The only downside is that the tweezers aren't great, but hey, nothing's perfect.... that is except your eyebrows after using this kit. 

[Brown Sugar Eau De Parfum by Fresh] I'm not a huge perfume wearer, but Fresh is slowly changing that for me. So many of their perfumes smell amazing, but Brown Sugar is by far my favorite. It's sweet, natural and not at all overwhelming, which is perfect for me because I hate perfumes that are too strong. I bought the rollerball at Sephora, but it looks like they no longer have it. Not to worry though, you definitely won't regret the larger bottle. 

[Diorskin Nude in 010-Ivory by Dior] I splurged on this foundation because I was in my cousin's wedding two summers ago, but it was so incredible that, when I ran out, I had to buy it again. It provides such great coverage without feeling heavy and looks so natural. Definitely worth the investment.  

[They're Real! Mascara by Benefit] This mascara is unreal (pun intended). It thickens and lengthens lashes like you wouldn't believe. I use it every single day. The only downside is that it's tough to remove at night, but Neutrogena wipes work well, and it's a small price to pay for incredible lashes.
[You Rebel SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer by Benefit] This tinted moisturizer looks well loved for a reason. However, Benefit recently discontinued it, which is downright crazy and the reason I'm savoring every last morsel. Though, with so many people clamoring for its return, I see hope for the future. I apply a little everyday in conjunction with my foundation, and it provides a healthy and natural glow. 

[Ruby Woo (Retro Matte) lipstick by MAC] I would happily wear this lipstick for the rest of my life. Before Ruby Woo came along, wearing red lipstick was an intimidating and dangerous endeavor. Now, I don't know what I would do without it. With a little lip balm to keep it creamy and even, it's my go to for every occasion. The hints of blue make it universally flattering and actually make your teeth look whiter! There is a reason that, at one time, it was the best selling lipstick of the year.
[The POREfessional by Benefit] You'll almost always find this little guy in my purse. It's so great for touch ups and the super silky texture is amazing. I mostly use it on my nose, under or over my foundation. It makes pores disappear instantly. This miniature one is definitely worth having in your bag of tricks. 

[Big Easy Multi-Balancing Complexion Perfector by Benefit] This is another one I love for touch ups. I pull the travel sized one from my bag to refresh on the go. It's lighter than my foundation which is why I'm seriously considering purchasing the big bottle for days when I don't feel like I need full coverage.

[Synthetic Flat Top Multipurpose Brush NO. 04 by Sonia Kashuk] I use very few brushes during my daily makeup routine, but this soft flat top brush makes the cut for a reason. It's perfect for applying and blending loose powder and bronzer. 

[Eyestudio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner by Maybelline] I live in constant fear that Maybelline will discontinue this eyeliner. It's just sold in drugstores, but it might as well be a mythological creature, it's so difficult to find. I don't know if it's missing from shelves because it's so popular or because it's not popular at all, hence the fear mentioned earlier. All I know is that when I do find it, I stock up! I buy 2 or sometimes 3 tubes because "incredible" is an understatement when talking about this eyeliner. I have never had another liquid liner come remotely close. Once you get the hang of it, it's so easy to use and you'll be able to create perfect wings. Try it, but don't tell too many people because I have a hard enough time getting my hands on it as it is. 

[Pink Perfection Slant Tweezer by Tweezerman] Tweezers are just a necessary beauty tool and hands down, Tweezerman makes the best. Mine were a special edition from Sephora and I've had them for such a long time that the name wore off. They work so well that they make using any other kind of tweezers a ridiculous and frustrating experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'm sure that's why they win an Allure best of beauty award every single year. 

[Sexy Curls by Sally Hansen] In my opinion, an eye lash curler is essential in any beauty arsenal. Curling your eyelashes instantly draws more attention to the eyes and helps you look more awake (which I especially need for 8:30 classes). The one I use now is by Sally Hansen, but I've used so many brands in the past. Revlon, especially, makes some nice ones. 

[Mint Julips Lip Scrub by LUSH] My sister recently introduced me to this new gem and it is destined to become an all time favorite of mine. I've wanted a lip scrub for a while but I always thought that a little granulated sugar with vaseline works well, so "why rock the boat?" 3 words: Edible lip scrub. That is why you rock the boat. This stuff leaves my lips feeling so soft and smooth, and you can literally just lick off the excess in all of its sugary glory. I'm partial to mint, but flavors also include bubblegum and popcorn, which is oddly delicious. 

[READY Bronzer in The Skinny Dip by bareMinerals] This little bronzer came in a set I purchased with Sephora points and it was the shining star of the group. Just a quick sweep around my face leaves a nice natural glow.

[Mascara Pouch by Pamela Barsky Shop] Of course with all of this makeup, you need somewhere to stash it. Pamela Barsky designs these cool makeup bags with hilarious and witty sayings. I'm particularly obsessed with the one I have, but you can find so many more on her Etsy shop. You can also check her out on Instagram here

If you've made it this far, I commend you, and I'm assuming it's because you share my deep love for makeup. So, I'll leave you with the wise words of Bobbi Brown, "Confidence is everything, but a little makeup can't hurt."
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to School Brunch

Last week marked the start of my final semester in college. To celebrate our return to the apartment and the fact that my parents allowed me to bring the family waffle iron to school, I asked my roommates if they wanted to have a casual breakfast together one day during our first week. Well, it didn't take long for me to turn "casual breakfast" into "formal back to school brunch." We invited some more friends and chose an official date.  

I knew waffles would be on the menu, for sure. At home, on special occasions, my dad makes these incredible buttermilk waffles, and it would have honestly been a crime to use another recipe. In terms of table aesthetics: I thought about that for days (I wish I were kidding). 

I would say that it's unbelievable how excited I got about planning this event, but that would be a lie. Making a huge deal out of small things is pretty much my calling card. Although, I think everyone else got pretty excited, as well. They brought drinks and fruit, and my roommate, Alana, even made us spanish coffee! I'm incredibly proud of how beautifully it all came together.  

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Alana shares my love for mason jars and it was her idea to use them for the coffee. She was also kind enough to lend me another for the syrup. 

I wanted to wrap the table in brown packing paper to allow for writing. As you can tell, I'm super into details (something I definitely get from my mom). 

What's a waffle without a little powdered sugar?

When all was said and done, I think this brunch was a nice reminder that it can be wonderful to celebrate life's small milestones. We could have easily let the start of our last semester pass by without any kind of acknowledgment, but where's the fun in that? 
So, cheers to friends, cheers to the new semester, and cheers to celebrating the little things.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Salted Caramel Espresso Cookies

Baking and cooking blogs simply fascinate me. How do people feasibly come up with so many recipes from scratch? I mean, are they wizards!? I never really understood how it was done, but creating my own cookie recipes is something I've wanted to try for a while. So, hopefully, this is the first of many original cookie recipes that will appear on Whale & Wishbone.

The thought of adding espresso to a cookie occurred to me a long time ago and so I knew that's where I wanted to start with this recipe. Adding caramel wasn't a difficult jump to make given how delicious I find any caramel coffee drink. And so, the idea of the Salted Caramel Espresso Cookie was born. Of course, I wasn't about to just throw things into a bowl and hope for the best. I did a little research and found this blog post to be particularly helpful when crafting my recipe. While I did create this cookie recipe on my own, I wasn't yet feeling confident enough to whip up my own caramel recipe, so instead I relied on the kitchen goddess that is Ina Garten for a little help. I've linked to her caramel sauce recipe below.

Fun side-note: a few friends (two of whom are also my roommates) were so incredibly enthusiastic about this endeavor of mine. The whole process took the better part of the day, and together, we made it a production. The word "production" might even be an understatement for how seriously we took this. They got involved in taking pictures, "hand modeling," taste testing and everything in between. They kept me laughing the entire time and are just amazing. 

Okay, back on track:

Above is my friend Christina's perfectly staged hand. 

When I asked my friends to add the egg, of course, this is what they jokingly did. 

This adorable "waiting for the cookies" picture was their idea.

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When all was said and done, these cookies really did turn out well. The dark brown sugar and espresso kept the flavor rich, while the salted caramel added the perfect amount of sweetness. I think they would make a lovely companion for an early morning coffee or a late night study session.

If you're in need of further proof, I can tell you that we baked them on Sunday, and there are no more to be found.

Salted Caramel Espresso Cookies
(makes 24)


1/2 cup butter  (1 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp ground espresso 
2 cups all-purpose flour

caramel sauce for drizzling (I made mine using Ina Garten's recipe)
sea salt for sprinkling


Preheat the Oven to 350 F

Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, salt, espresso, and flour. Add to butter mixture and combine to form dough.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie trays lined with parchment paper. Using the back of a spoon, slightly flatten each cookie.

Bake for 7-9 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes, before transferring to cooling rack.

Once cool, drizzle cookies with prepared caramel and top each with a dash of sea salt.

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P.S. If you made your caramel from scratch, you should definitely save the rest for a rainy day (preferably in an adorable mason jar).

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